The Sixth W

With people

It is the sixth W – WITH – that gives meaning to all aspects of experience: cognitive, emotional and behavioural.


Our WITH means: care, participation, relationship, involvement, listening and sharing.

We deal with people’s experiences and we involve people, who are commonly defined as users or customers, through people – who are researchers and professionals – with people – who are managers and planners – to improve the whole experience. Bringing about better experiences aids well-being and for us it is vital to restore the relationship between producers and users; between idea makers and life livers.

What does this “with” mean?

It means that the metrics and methods applied and the customers engaged have been seen, felt and directly experienced in our laboratory (a place of encounter and reconnection), in the brand spaces or in the wider world, by the client partners, or rather, the people who daily work on those products or services.

For the people in our places, it is a time of rapprochement, and this stimulates affinity and understanding.

In our view, it is important not only to solve functional, quite obvious or less explicit problems, but also to re-establish relationships in order to engender harmony and transmit experiences. Sometimes, while talking with people, the required tasks give rise to margin notes or secondary indications. These may have great value for a brand that sells products or services.

It’s all about reconnecting. 

From one angle it might seem like a step backwards compared to the research done on man-machine interaction, a much-discussed topic today, because what we are interested in is looking back and attending to the centrality of the man-man relationship.

In some ways, instead of talking of digital transformation, we can speak of the transformation of the digital: instead of post-its we have posts as places of interaction and relationing; instead of personas we have persons as real human beings holding desires and values; from omni-channel strategies to hominid-channel thinking, and so on to man as the measure of all things and the true subject and object of our work.

Our model seamlessly combines quantitative and qualitative measurements, giving real and measurable substance to what might seem merely insights or feelings, to uncover, through subjectivity and possibly surprise, effective paths, simpler and more natural elements of interaction or functional solutions. This is why we can still say TSW is the thread that weaves together relationships. Because we take care of and re-establish relationships with individuals – who are people before consumers.

For us it is acceptable to say that we deal with customer experience, if customer experience refers to the set of experiences the consumer has as a result of their interaction with the company. So we want to extend this definition because “experiences” is plural, and it seems more real than many other blatant assertions.

Once it is established that experiences are always to be considered in the plural, as people are also plural, let us consider customers: Who was that customer?

Customer (15th century English, derived from Medieval Latin custumarius, itself from the late Latin consuetudinarius, which in turn comes from the Latin consuetudo, meaning “habitual practice”) = Consumer (from the Latin consumere, which means to wear out).

Certain sectors have a habitual – and wearing – practice of talking about consumer or customer, and we should all make an effort to distances ourselves from these reductive terms.

But even people who do not actually use the word consumer may imply it when they talk about targets (i.e. consumer targets). We should get rid of this terminology and its military, or at least ballistic, connotations. People should never be either targets or shields.

We talk about individuals and how they can be an asset in revealing and expressing their experiences, infused with value.

We take care of our business partners, providing services so that they can investigate, create, improve, expand and monitor people’s experiences; we achieve this through multidisciplinary listening to their emotions and the understanding of their behaviour.

Our approach is multidisciplinary. It comes from tech and web usability, which is our point of origin, but it broadens its scope and draws upon other disciplines and methods pertaining to human sciences and a humanistic approach.

Now, after more than twenty years of research and observation of the digital world and technological change, we have realised that our entire way of relating to the world, whether through an analogue or digital path, has, or should have, people at its centre.

Anyone coming into contact with us and our method adds a piece, brings a solution, identifies a problem, conveys an experience, rediscovers a path, finds a welcome and is heard.

This is why we can still say that every visitor is a valuable resource.


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